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God of the Impossible makes 225 bags possible

l-r— Volunteer Lucien with Bonnie McNally and Cathy, who is on staff at The Well, with all those comfort bags.
l-r— Volunteer Lucien with Bonnie McNally and Cathy, who is on staff at The Well, with all those comfort bags.
By on February 1, 2022
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On Dec. 13, my online daily devotion focused on ‘God of the Impossible.’ It spoke of the angel appearing to Mary, a virgin, announcing that she was to give birth to a baby and, even more startling, that her baby would be the long-awaited Messiah. Furthermore, the angel proclaimed, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth and Zachariah, both well past child-bearing age, were already expecting a baby. 

The message of our ‘God of the Impossible’ was especially relevant that day as we made our way to The Well in downtown Ottawa.  Only a month before, I had been contacted by Heather at The Well to see if I might be able to supply a few ‘Comfort Bags’ at Christmas.

Two members of the community at The Well with their Christmas comfort bags.
Two members of the community at The Well with their Christmas comfort bags.

The year before, in the fall of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, my daughter Victoria and I came up with the idea of putting together ‘Comfort Bags’ for the homeless downtown. We envisioned the gift of a warm toque, gloves and socks, plus toiletries and treats right before Christmas. Our vision became a reality. Victoria put out a call to the community and I asked our church, St Thomas, Stittsville, for assistance. The community and St Thomas responded! In all, 140 bags were delivered to The Well for distribution to the downtown ministries. 

Heather asked if we could manage the same again this Christmas. Any number of bags would be appreciated.

“How many were they hoping for this year?” we asked.

“There would be 75 ladies at their Christmas dinner at The Well… and … 75 at each of the two dinners for the men at St Luke’s Table,“ she said.   

We quickly did the math. Yikes, 225! Impossible?  Victoria and I looked at each other and instantly agreed, ‘We’re believing, with God’s help, that 225 bags are possible.”

Once again Victoria put out the call on Facebook, and I brought the concept to our St Thomas Outreach Committee, to the ACW, and to our church family in general. What a response!

Our Outreach Committee purchased the 225 bags … large cloth laundry bags with drawstring ties and a sturdy carrying strap that can be slung over the shoulder, perfect for carrying belongings, especially for those living on the streets. 

The St. Thomas ACW supplied all the shampoo and conditioner required to fill 225 small containers of each, as well as sanitary products for the women, and some of the toothbrushes and toothpaste. The men’s ‘Prayer-and-a-Pint’ group collected enough razors at their Christmas dinner for all of the men.

Knitters (Pat Brush, Laura Reynolds, Phyllis Lumsden, Judy Dallaway, Anne Parr, and Bonnie McNally) provided the hand knit toques. Several individuals donated items or money.

The community also responded, providing the socks, gloves, hand warmers, and the remainder of the toothbrushes and toothpaste.

When we were finished each bag contained: a hand knit toque (with a sticker attached saying ‘Handmade with Love’), warm gloves, two pairs of socks, hand warmers, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, razors for the men and sanitary products for the ladies, band aids, treats, and a handwritten note.

Half of the notes of blessings and good wishes were written and decorated by seniors at The Villa and Hazeldean Gardens retirement homes. The remaining half were completed by the ladies of the ACW at our December meeting.

What an incredible community we live in! 225 Comfort Bags is no mean feat! But there are 225 downtown folk who we hope experienced the love of Christ this past Christmas because of the amazing generosity of so many people. 

And God’s providence didn’t end there! After all the necessary purchases were made for the Comfort Bags, there was still $500 remaining ….. enough money to buy 100 $5 McDonalds gift cards. And …. when McDonalds learned about the purpose of the gift cards, they matched each one with a coupon for a Big Mac. These were delivered to The Shepherds of Good Hope in Kanata just in time for Christmas.

Our God truly is the God of the Impossible! 

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